For many scrapbookers looking to buy their first manual die cut machine, the choice comes down to the Sizzix Big Shot vs the We R Memory Keepers Evolution Advanced die cutting tool. With comparable pricing, functionality, and usability, many scrapbookers are left asking, “but how do I choose?” In this article, we will compare die cut machines for scrapbooking, cardmaking, or any of your other crafting projects.
The Sizzix Big Shot
A staple among Sizzix die cutting machines, this is what you need to know about the Big Shot.
The most popular die cutting machine on planet Earth, the Sizzix Big Shot has a fresh white and gray color scheme that gives it a modern feel that matches almost any decor, while still maintaining all the amazing utility its always had. And, with solid core steel rollers and solid steel gears, the Big Shot is as tough as it is stylish!
The Big Shot can be used with thousands of thin metal dies (such as Sizzix Thinlits and Sizzix Framelits) as well as steel rule Sizzix dies, along with a huge selection of Sizzix embossing folders. The Sizzix Big Shot cuts and embosses a wide variety of materials including paper, vellum, chipboard, cork... you can even use the Sizzix Big Shot with fabric and so much more to make your creative vision a reality!
The Big Shot Machine and its accessories (such as the Magnetic Platform) will also work with other brands' dies and embossing folders, so this machine opens up a world of possibilities! The diagrams on the Extended Multipurpose Platform, included with the machine, offer easy guidelines about how to make the perfect Sizzix sandwich for any die, or you can refer to the Sizzix Sandwich Booklet for quick reference.
For further information on the Sizzix Big Shot, watch this great video hosted by Sizzix designer Stephanie Barnard:
The We R Memory Keepers Evolution Advanced
The Evolution Die cutting Machine has a lot of options. Here's what's important to know:
The We R Memory Keepers Evolution Advanced is the universal crafting platform that is a workhorse for scrapbookers and crafters alike. The Evolution machine’s signature feature is an easy-to-use height adjustment gear that automatically adjusts the machine’s rollers to fit each project, so you no longer have to figure out which mat combinations (sandwiches) are needed for them.
The Evolution also features a convenient fold-up design for easy storage and portability. This is the ideal portable die-cut machine. To reduce the machine’s size when on the go, the crank handle comes off and stores in a handy compartment in the machine’s platform. The Evolution machine also comes with suction feet for no-slip cranking of your die cutting, and the handle on top of the case makes it easy to “grab and go”.
The versatile We R Memory Keepers Evolution Advanced is perfect for die-cutting, embossing, and even letter-pressing, and works with most leading brands of dies and embossing folders.
If you are in a hurry, or don’t like to crank, then you’ll love the Evolution’s attachable accessory motor (sold separately). Remove the crank and attach the motor, and your Evolution becomes an electronic die cutting machine that will cut with the flip of a switch. No more cranking!
To get to know We R Memory Keepers Evolution Advanced even more, check out this informative video hosted by We R Memory Keepers' Aly Dosdall:
How much is the Big Shot? How much does the Evolution Advanced cost? Which is more cost effective? We'll dish below.
Without a doubt, the first thing that most of us look at when shopping for a major craft tool investment is price. Unfortunately, for those trying to make a hard decision between the two machines, the Big Shot and the Evolution Advanced are priced very comparably to each other.
The Sizzix Big Shot machine sells at a list price of $120.00, and the We R Memory Keepers Evolution Advanced has a list price of $120.00. Actual prices vary depending on discounts being offered on any given day, but with such similar list prices, actual street prices for the machines are usually very close to each other.
Add the ability for motorized cutting into the calculation, and a slightly higher cost difference emerges. The Sizzix Big Shot Express, which is the same size as the Big Shot, but with a motor for easier cutting, has a list price of $230. By comparison, motorized cutting on the We R Memory Keepers Evolution is available for a total list price of $200 ($120 for the machine and $80 for the accessory motor).
The prices of optional accessories are where the machines really separate, however. Due to its dial that adjusts the height adjustment gear, the Evolution requires virtually no accessories for cutting different types of dies or materials. On the other hand, the Big Shot has a whole range of optional accessories that can be used for cutting and embossing a huge range of materials including different platforms, shims, and pads.
When it comes to cutting area, size really does matter. How do these machines measure up?
The maximum size that both the We R Memory Keepers Evolution Advanced and the Sizzix Big Shot can cut is roughly the same– 6” by 13” in area. The difference between the two machines is the size what they can cut out of the box with the included accessories. The Sizzix Big Shot can only cut about 6.25” by 8” with the standard cutting pads that are included in the box. Cutting to the full 13” length requires purchasing extended cutting pads that will cost you an additional $19.99, sold separately. The Evolution, in contrast, can cut the full size with the accessories included.
The 6” by 13” area is plenty of room to cut out standard sized cards, as well as 12” long borders and elements. For crafters who wish to cut even larger items (such as 3D items like treat boxes), Sizzix offers the Big Shot Plus or Big Shot Pro machines.
Cutting Strength and Durability
Is the Big Shot better than the Evolution in regards to longevity? We'll give you the scoop.
Since many crafters choose a manual die cut machine for portability and to cut thick materials, durability and strength of the machine are important concerns to buyers.
Both the Sizzix Big Shot and the We R Memory Keepers Evolution Advanced use the same basic cutting system – a pair of steel rollers that are driven by a hand crank, so their essential cutting ability is similar. However, since the Evolution’s roller is movable (versus the fixed roller of the Big Shot), it is a potential failure point if the machine is put under severe strain.
For heavy users of their die cutting machines, durability is a concern. As mentioned above with the movable roller on the Evolution, every movable part on a die cutting machine is a potential failure part. The Big Shot’s fixed rollers and platform may not be as convenient as the Evolution’s movable parts, but they almost certainly have the advantage in the reliability department.
Overall Pros and Cons of the Big Shot by Sizzix
The Sizzix Big Shot is a solid, heavyweight machine that stands up to a lot of use and heavy material cutting. The hand grip on the Big Shot’s crank is larger, easier to grip, and arguably more comfortable to use than the crank on the Evolution.
With no ability to fold or disassemble, the Big Shot is definitely the larger, more difficult to store, and less portable of the two machines. This machine also requires more accessories in order to use it to its full potential than the Evolution does, and it cannot cut to the full size that the Evolution can without the purchase of a set of accessory extended cutting pads. This adds to the cost of the machine, which is already slightly more expensive than the Evolution in the first place.
Overall Pros and Cons of the Evolution Advanced by We R Memory Keepers
The We R Memory Keepers Evolution Advanced is a quieter, smoother machine to operate than the Sizzix Big Shot (whose cutting is often accompanied by crunching and cracking cutting pads, though this does not disrupt the functionality of the tool). With a folding cutting surface and a removable crank that stores in an onboard storage compartment, this machine is immensely portable. The Evolution’s height adjustment gear that changes the depth of the rollers for using different dies and materials greatly reduces the amount of accessories needed with the machine. For those who wish to increase their productivity, the ability to add on the accessory electric motor is a definite plus of the Evolution.
While the height adjustment dial is convenient, it can be difficult to use for those with motor skills challenges such as children or seniors. Also, while the machine offers a magnetic mat for cutting thin metal dies, making the cutting sandwich with the opaque colored cutting pads and platform makes it impossible to monitor the placement of your die and paper as it is loaded in the machine to ensure continued proper alignment as it is moved.
Should you buy the Big Shot or the Evolution?
The question you'be been waiting for: which machine is better, the Big Shot or the Evolution?
So, knowing all of that, which machine is right for you? The answer depends on which features are the most important for your particular use of the machine.
For those with conditions like arthritis, or impaired fine motor skills, and those who plan to work mostly at home or in one space, the Sizzix Big Shot, with its larger, easy grip handle, is the more user-friendly machine of the two. If you are pressed for space or frequently creating on the go at crops and retreats, then the We R Memory Keepers Evolution Advanced – with its ability to fold down and with fewer accessories to store - is definitely the best choice for you.
On an additional note, stampers who like to use their die cut machine to cut out their stamped images with the matching thin metal dies may find the Big Shot preferable to the Evolution for its clear cutting pads. The clear pads allow unimpeded visibility of the alignment of the die with the paper being cut, to better ensure perfect alignment of the die and stamped image each time.
If overall durability is what you are looking for, the Sizzix Big Shot will stand up to heavy use and to cutting heavy materials. But if your bottom line in choosing a manual die cutting machine is your bottom line, then the We R Memory Keepers Evolution Advanced is a very affordable choice to get a full range of die cutting ability.
Still uncertain what die cut machine is right for you? Check out our Die Cut Machine Comparison Chart for more information!
Do you prefer one over the other? Do you swear by the Big Shot or are a faithful devotee to the Evolution? Comment below this article so we can hear your input and others can get more ideas about which machine would work best for them!